Friday, September 16, 2011

A View from the Cube

A coworker who sits in a cubicle near me likes to excercise while she works. She owns a small weight and does slow reps - lifting the weight straight up in the air, lowering it, pausing, then lifting again.

From where I sit, on the other side of the cube wall, it looks as if she repeatedly loses the weight, then finds it, and then holds it aloft in triumph.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inappropriate Children's Toys

When I was a child, I had a toy stuffed cat. The cat's main selling point was that it wept "real tears" after being fed a bottle filled with water. It also made crying sounds when it was hugged.

There was apparently a market for emotionally unstable children's toys in the 1980's.

A recent search online revealed that my melancholy stuffed friend was from a line of toys called "Lost N Founds".  Her given name belied her despondent disposition.

In memory of that beloved toy, I have decided to write to the makers of Lost N Founds and suggest that they revive and expand their line of toys. Within the letter, I plan to include a couple helpful ideas. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Mother's Secret Shame

For the first twenty-eight years of my life, I believed that my mother's full name was Karen Suzanne Hensel (nee Karen Suzanne Cutter). I had no reason to believe otherwise. Like all daughters, I would sometimes work myself into a self-righteous tizzy over some disagreement and fling accusations at my mom; I would say that she was mean, that she was unfair... but I never thought she was a liar.

Then I had to order a copy of my marriage certificate for my insurance company. I pulled the certificate from its envelope and gave it a quick glance. Everything seemed in order. I faxed the copy over to the appropriate office.

Then I took a second look at the certificate...

BAM. There it was: proof that I had been living a lie. I am not, as I had naively believed for so long, the daughter of Karen Suzanne Cutter. I am the daughter of:

In my mother's defense, it is a pretty embarrassing name.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great Literary Excavations

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quiz Time!

View the following photo and then choose the correct answer to the question below.

This warning label, photographed near my place of work, is attempting to convey what message?

A) Caution! Hazardous voltage inside!
B) Caution! Sentient giant throwing stars make bad dance partners!
C) Caution! The Smoke Monster from Lost gives angry tickles!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cubicle Remedies

I used to work in a restaurant and in a coffee shop. Now I work in an office in a cubicle. One would think that this would involve a downgrade in regards to scenery.

One would be wrong.

Now, instead of a view of a kitchen or an espresso machine, I have a view of Gotham City.

The above snapshot is of a cubicle just down the row from me. Needless to say, I am both deeply envious and immensely inspired.

I've decided I need ideas for some full-on, theme-crazy redecorating in my own cube. I asked for suggestions on Facebook and those suggestions include:

  • Dinosaur and unicorn wonderland
  • Tea party
  • Dinosaur and unicorn tea party
  • Ninja Turtles
  • Dinosaur and unicorn apocalypse survival zone
  • Shrine to Dan Clinton.

So, my best idea for a theme at this point is "Dinosaurs and Unicorns in the Aftermath of a Tea Party Apocalypse, with Ninja Turtles Kneeling at a Shrine to Dan Clinton."

Any further input would be welcome in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Words I Hate/Happy Birthday!

Sunday was my friend Dan Pattee's birthday.

I am hereby wishing him a happy belated birthday and I feel terrible about it - not because I'm a good friend who normally recognizes birthdays in a timely manner, but because I loathe the word belated.


It seems to be a cross between "bloated" and "deflated". It's a fart word, and only serves to magnify the rudeness of sending birthday wishes late.

Happy Birthday, Dan! Sorry I belated... it must have been all that two day-old birthday cake I ate.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trying Something New: Pork Skins

The other day a friend offered me a taste of the snack that he had just purchased from a vending machine. The snack? Pork skins.

For those of you who don't know (I certainly didn't at the time), pork skins, or pork rinds, are fried or roasted bits of pig skin. The particular brand of pork skins that I was being offered were tossed in spicy seasonings and looked surprisingly non-disgusting.

As I am a big fan of trying new things, and an even bigger fan of all things spicy, I accepted my friend's offer and popped one of the fluffy, curled morsels in my mouth.

Initially, the flavor and texture of the pork skin was pretty good. The consistency was light and puffy like a Cheeto. As I went to swallow the snack, though, something terrible happened:

The saliva in my mouth seemed to rehydrate the thing. The airy, crunchy treat turned into a slimy wad of goo that stuck to the back of my throat. Suddenly, I became convinced that there was a fresh chunk of oozing pig skin swinging lazily beneath my uvula.

I was repulsed. I'm still recovering.


What pork skins look like in your hand:

What pork skins feel like at the back of your throat:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Please! Take My Blood!

Today I will attempt to donate blood.

This makes me nervous, because my last three attempts to donate were unsuccessful.

Fail #1:

I went to a campus blood drive while I was in college. The nurse said my veins were difficult to find - an absolutely absurd claim; between my pale skin and prominent veins, finding a good vein on my arm to take blood from is about as challenging as finding an anaconda beneath a piece of Saran Wrap. The nurse then inserted the needle into my arm. When she didn't hit a vein, she began to dig around with the needle, poking and prodding with the same enthusiasm (and about the same delicacy) as a pig digging for truffles.

After about five minutes of this torture, the nurse finally declared me a lost cause and sent me home with a fresh bruise that stretched from my wrist to my armpit.

Fail #2:

I attempted to give platelets: a more time-consuming process than normal blood donation. They got the needle in okay but decided to halt the procedure when I began to shake uncontrollably and my skin turned the color of sun-bleached lettuce.

Fail #3:

I didn't even make it to the needle. Immediately after testing my blood for the appropriate iron levels, the nurse shook her head and told me I wasn't eligible to donate. Her tone was kind enough, but I knew what she was really saying: My blood was crap. It would be useless in life-saving, and it was a miracle that it was even keeping me alive. My blood was so insubstantial that if I got a paper cut, the blood would probably escape in a plume of red mist.

So wish me luck, friends; someone's life depends on it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lazy Sunday Hasty Photo

One of the many mysteries of my childhood:

Apparently, I went through a phase in my childhood where I was forced to wear a helmet and mittens. The photo is dated, "Fall 1983." This is no wintertime photo. So the obvious answer of, "Oh, her parents must have been preparing her for the highly competitive and dangerous world of Kiddie Bobsled Racing," is right out. Was it for my own safety? For the safety of others? We may never know the answer... and perhaps it's better that way.

I'd hate for any of you to get hurt.

Friday, April 1, 2011

You Down With APP?

Here is my latest piece of glorious artwork:

I call it Angry Pink Pterodactyl. I felt this was a fitting title because, if you look closely, you can see an angry, pink Pterodactyl in the drawing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I Haven't Been Blogging: The Honest Truth

A lot of people have been asking about my blog, wondering why I haven't been posting. I've received a number of complaints from readers - some subtly pleading ("I'm going through serious blog withdrawal") and some a little less subtle ("WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN YOUR BLOG").

I've been dealing with some really dark and personal struggles over the past few weeks. The part of me that craves privacy wants to stay silent but, as difficult as it may be, I've decided that I owe it to you all to explain what's been going on. So here it is - the truth behind why I haven't been blogging:

After weeks of neglecting Composing Lola, my blog was seized by protective services.

I have my excuses. I just moved two thousand miles away from my family, friends and the world I grew up in. I just started a new job. Things have been hectic. I've been tired. The bars around here have astonishingly cheap drink specials.

But all along, though I've tried to reassure myself with the comforting blindfold of excuses, I've never been able to lose sight of the truth: If I wasn't ready to fully commit to a once-daily blog, then I never should have brought it into this world in the first place.

So I stand before you, humbled. I have my blog back. I hope you'll all honor me with your support while my blog and I repair our relationship. I know the road ahead may be difficult, but I also know that the wounds of a hard journey may be tended to with the gauze of nostalgia and new memories.

Also, here is a hastily drawn picture of a hulked-out werehamster:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tortured Love

I used to be in a band called Peanut Butter and Fluff. I was Peanut Butter, my roommate Melanie was Fluff. Together, we were Peanut Butter and Fluff.

Melanie sang and played lead guitar; I sang,and backed Melanie up by playing imaginary guitar. To the casual observer it may have appeared that I was just waving my hand around uselessly over the guitar strings but, hey, that was part of the magic.

While unpacking some boxes a few days ago, I found some prints from a promotional photo shoot that we did before a concert back in 2002.

Photographs by Alexandra McDougall

We specialized in creepy love songs, but also penned such classics as, "What the Hell is Wrong With You?" and "Foreskin (Don't Cut It)."

In honor of Valentine's Day, I have decided to share the lyrics that I penned for our emotionally-charged ballad, "Tortured Love Song." Enjoy!

Tortured Love Song
Lyrics by Lola Cutter Hensel
Music by Melanie Drisoll

Your love is torturing me
like a crazy sadist who can't see.
Your love is torturing me
like no toilets when you have to pee.

Your love makes me feel
like I'm on the rack
with whips and chains
flaying my back.
Yeah, your love makes me howl,
it's like being disemboweled.


Your love is torturing me
like a crowbar smashing my knees.
Your love is torturing me
like the inquisition on a spree.

Your love makes me feel
like I'm on the rack,
with whips and chains
flaying my back.
Yeah, your love makes me howl,
it's like being disemboweled,
I've been fouled
by your love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Like His Father

Everyone's families have certain stories that they love to tell - beloved anecdotes that are shared over the dinner table, time and time again. My Grammy had one tale in particular that she just never got tired of telling.

"Whenever I'd take you out in your stroller," she'd tell me, "People would stop and say, 'Oh my goodness! He looks JUST like his father!'"

Yup. She never got tired of that one.

Lest you think she might have been exaggerating, though, here are a few pictures for you to consider:

In fact, photographic evidence suggests that I was of completely indeterminate gender until age... oh, I don't know... Six? Eight? Seventeen?

Oh well. At least, as my bib suggests in the middle picture, I was always ready to party!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Have a Stalker

Yesterday, I discovered that I have a stalker. One who followed me over two thousand miles, all the way from Massachusetts to Texas.

Snow, you are a creep.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Journey to the Center of the Earth

I have, since I was fairly young, been plagued by occasional migraines. About once or twice a month a vicious, head-crushing, stomach-churning migraine sweeps in and leaves me curled in a fetal position, my eyes squeezed shut, feeling like my brain is going to start leaking out my nose. On two separate occasions in the past year, I've stumbled to a mirror and checked to see if either side of my face was sagging, convinced that I was experiencing a stroke.

Things started to get better a few months ago when my doctor prescribed a migraine medication that I can administer via a syringe injection. The stuff usually works like a charm and is thus far the greatest proof I have experienced that there is a merciful God. The injection hurts a bit but, I tell myself, for someone who has spent hours over the years getting tattooed, one little needle prick is no big deal.

Well, speaking of tattoos: Last week I spent three hours sitting for the beginning of a new tattoo - a big black and gray beauty that takes up about two thirds of the left side of my back. It's healing, but it's still a bit raw.

So, tonight, when I was down with a particularly nasty migraine, I decided it was time to crawl to the medicine cabinet for a dose of my medication. There are a few funky side effects to the medication, all of which I thought I had already experienced and was used to.


Months back, when I read over the potential side effect list that came with my medication, I must have missed where it said, "WARNING: May make fresh tattoos feel like angry, burning, fiery doom."

I went from feeling like this:

To feeling like this:

I now have an idea of what it might be like to recline on the earth's molten core.

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Time in the Tub!

Guess who else loves the bathtub in my new apartment?

What's that cat doing in the bathtub, you ask? Why, she's just stopping by her new favorite place to get a drink...

When the post-shower drip stopped, she resorted to licking the sides of the tub.

No shame:

I originally thought that Spike was watching Mina with contempt...

... but it turns out that those eyes are actually engaged in a studious focus so intense that, if you zoom in close enough, you can see laser beams about to shoot from his pupils. I caught him licking the sides of the tub about ten minutes later.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Gentle Reminder

Just over a week ago I drove from Marblehead, Massachusetts to my new home in Austin, Texas. I was accompanied by my husband Jason and our friend Conor. In an effort to avoid bad weather, we took a slightly more scenic route than we might have otherwise: All the way down the east coast and then through the southern states. We saw a lot of interesting things.

In Louisiana we drove by an informational billboard that I have recreated for you here:

Yes. This billboard really exists. It seems that Louisiana residents needed a reminder.

In a moment of goodwill, I began to consider other billboards that I could propose in an effort to inform commuters - some gentle reminders that might help to get people out of trouble before they get into it. Here's one idea I came up with:

I'll be putting my proposal together soon. If you have any other billboard ideas, please share!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making Do

Okay, I had an illustrated blog entry just about ready to go but then I had technical issues with the drawings at the last moment. I had promised myself that I'd be better about posting every day, so I'm just going to toss up a few pictures from the going-away party that our friends threw for Jason and I.

I knew that this was going to be an important social event, so I put a lot of thought into what I was going to wear. When I couldn't decide between two very special outfits, I decided not to decide; I would wear both!

With friends, in outfit #1:

Aaaaand outfit #2:

Nothing compliments a colonial-style gown like an open bathroom:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everything's Bigger!

I have moved to Austin, Texas and I have tales to tell! Expect a return to daily posting beginning tomorrow.

For now though, I'd like to take a moment to brag about the bathtub in my new apartment: It's huge. I can swim laps in it. Compared to the cramped little juice glasses that passed for bathtubs I've had in past apartments, this thing is heaven. It's big enough to make jokes about.

Hey man, your bathtub's so big that when it walked by the tv I missed three episodes!

Your bathtub's so big that when it dances at a concert the whole band skips!

Seriously, if I ever decided to take up making bathtub gin as a hobby, one batch would be enough to keep an alcoholic elephant drunk for a year.

Aw... maybe I shouldn't have made that last joke. Alcoholic elephants aren't funny. They're tragic.

Anyway - below are a couple pictures that Jason took for a LUSH Cosmetics photo competition that I entered. Please remember that it's water in the tub, not gin. I know how the rumor mill works and I don't want to find any elephants banging on my door after the bars close.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

One year, when I was a child, I informed my parents that I wanted a kangaroo for Christmas. It would live in our back yard and could transport me to and from school in its pouch.

My mother and father, being selfish and unreasonable, told me that my request was unlikely to be fulfilled. Kangaroos were neither readily available for purchase nor were they a legal pet in Massachusetts, my parents told me, along with a list of other nonsensical and ignorable arguments that I have since forgotten.

The only way to make sense of my parents refusal was to assume that they were just trying to amp up the excitement factor. They wanted my Christmas kangaroo to be a surprise, and the best way to do that was to playfully suggest that I wouldn't be getting one. Just to be safe, though, I made sure to inform the rest of my extended family that a kangaroo was at the top of my wish list. It couldn't hurt to have a backup plan.

Christmas Day arrived. As I sat by the glittering, ornament-laden tree, my grandmother pointed to a particular wrapped gift and said, "There's something you asked for in there." I picked up the present, confused. The box seemed rather small. A baby kangaroo perhaps? There were no air holes punched in the top, I realized, so I unwrapped the gift quickly to let some oxygen in.

Inside the box was plush toy kangaroo.

I was horrified. Was this some kind of lame joke? Was my grandmother about to laugh mischievously and then open the closet door to reveal the real kangaroo she'd hidden there?

No. I looked around the room and saw the terrible truth lurking in the genuine smiles on my family's faces: Not only was this pathetic toy meant to be an actual, acceptable gift, it was meant to be a good one.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, but I found the photograph below in a scrapbook next to a newspaper clipping with a troubling headline...

"Arson Investigators Look to Suspicious Kerosene-Soaked Toy Kangaroo 
as Potential Cause in Gas Stove Explosion"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Top Draft Pick: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Jason and I are moving to Austin next week.

Next week.

After months of working sixty hour work weeks, all of our saving and planning has finally brought us right up to the precipice of our big adventure. The truck rental has been scheduled, a travel route has been sketched out, our new apartment is waiting for us; there are only a few crucial tasks left on our to-do list. Tonight we finally sat down and tackled the most daunting project yet.

Tonight we sorted through Jason's childhood action figures.

From the large box that had been decaying in his parents attic, my husband produced approximately fifty toys - action figures mostly, with the odd crystal geode or penguin music box tossed in here and there. Then we sat on the living room floor and went through them one by one.

I've never felt like such an evil, selfish monster in my life.

Certain decisions were easy. I mean, Darth Vader, Bebop and Rocksteady were obvious keepers. The rest of our torturous half-hour draft session was not so easy. Here's a couple sample conversations:

Jason holds up a headless Master Shredder figure.

JASON: I say yea.
ME: Nay.
JASON: Explain your thinking.
ME: Okay. Cons: He has no head.
JASON: Okay, but... Pros: he has two arms and two legs.


Jason holds up a neon green lizard-like creature wearing a purple baseball cap and a roller skate on his tail.

ME: Nay.
JASON: What? Really? Why?
ME: (Attempting to be gentle,) I just think we should be picking the cream of the crop here.

Jason looks at me with a bewildered, infant-like sorrow in his thirty-one year old eyes.

JASON: But, but... (Pointing at the lizard-thing's undersized yellow shirt,) He has a little green belly!


Eventually we narrowed the the group down to a team of twenty-one.

Some picks I'm delighted with...

... some I'll learn to love...

... and with a little grief counseling, I think Jason will be okay.